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Western Minn. under red flag warning today, wind advisory Saturday

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news Willmar, 56201

Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A red flag warning is in effect this afternoon for western Minnesota including the Willmar area, and the strongest winds are forecast in western Minnesota. On Saturday, a wind advisory is in effect.

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The red flag warning issued by the National Weather Service in Chanhassen affects much of central and west central and south central Minnesota due to the combination of strong winds and low relative humidity values.

A red flag warning means those conditions along with warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential.

Willmar, Olivia, Benson, Montevideo, Granite Falls, Morris, Glenwood and Madison are among the cities in west central Minnesota under the red flag warning from noon to 6 p.m. today. The fire weather watch issued Thursday is no longer in effect.

The area impacted across the state is generally west of a line from Lake Mille Lacs to Albert Lea.

The Weather Service says Minnesota will be in between a strong storm system developing in the Rockies this afternoon and an area of high pressure off to the east. The result will be strong southerly winds, especially in the western half of Minnesota. The winds will strengthen during the late morning and continue throughout the afternoon.

South winds will increase today by early afternoon with sustained speeds between 20 and 28 mph, gusting to 30 to 40 mph. The lowest relative humidities will be from 12 to 18 percent. Fires could become fast moving in a short period of time due to the gusty winds and low humidity.

Furthermore, many locations in Minnesota have received only an inch or less of rainfall since September which has produced very dry fine fuels.

A wind advisory has been issued for the region on Saturday. The Weather Service says strong south winds will spread over much of western and southern Minnesota on Saturday. The advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday for the area along and west of a line from Alexandria to Hutchinson, Mankato and Blue Earth.

Winds of 30 mph gusting to 40 mph are forecast last Saturday morning into Saturday afternoon. Winds should taper off in the evening.

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